By Nick Carey
Sports roundup now, and without a doubt, the biggest international sporting event of the week is in the world of tennis, as the US Open kicked off on Monday. And, as with the other Grand Slam events so far this year, the news has been mixed for the Czechs, with quite a few casualties in the first and second rounds.
In the women's singles tournament, the first round was mostly good news for the Czechs with Adriana Gersi easing comfortably past Russia's Elena Bovina, 6-3 6-2, while the going was also pretty smooth for Denisa Chladkova as she defeated Martina Muller of Germany in straight sets, 6-1 6-2, and young hopeful Daja Bedanova knocked out South Africa's Joannette Kruger, 6-1 6-2. The only casualty for the women in the first round was Kveta Hrdlickova, who was beaten 6-2 6-1 by Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva.
The good news continued for Daja Bedanova in the second round, as she defeated Croatia's Silvija Talaja in straight sets, 6-1 6-3. But Denisa Chladkova had the misfortune to face Serena Williams, who despatched her swiftly and skilfully, 6-1 6-1.
In the men's singles tournament, the news has been almost all bad for the Czech Republic. In the first round, Jiri Vanek was knocked out 7-6 4-6 6-0 6-4 by Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands, Daniel Vacek succumbed 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-5 to Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten, Slava Dosedel was beaten in straight sets, 6-4 6-1 6-2, by American Andy Roddick, Russia's Mikhail Youzhny defeated Bohdan Ulihrach, 6-7 6-2 6-3 6-3, Martin Damm lost in straight sets to Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, 7-6 6-2 6-2, Britain's Tim Henman just squeezed past qualifier Jan Vacek 6-3 6-2 6-7 3-6 6-3, and Michal Tabara was beaten after a struggle by American Justin Gimelstob. 6-4 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-2. The only good news was Jiri Novak's victory in straight sets over Switzerland's Ivo Heuberger, 6-2 6-3 6-4. So, out of eight players entered in the tournament, only one has made it through to the second round.
Some controversy surrounds Michal Tabara's defeat by American Justin Gimelstob. A very angry Tabara spat at Gimelstob during the match, because he believes that two injury timeouts that the American took were undeserved, and that Gimelstob was merely out of shape. Gimelstob denied the allegations after the match, and in what is turning into a war of words, said that Tabara better not be in the changing room when he got there.
And finally, away from the trials and tribulations of Czech tennis, Italian football club Fiorentina have announced that they have reached an agreement with English premier division team West Ham to sell international defender Tomas Repka. But Fiorentina, which is suffering from financial difficulties, said that the final decision rests with Repka, who has been playing for the side since the summer of 1998. But the man himself is, say the Italian papers, very reluctant to leave Fiorentina, despite the team's money troubles. An earlier deal to sell Repka to West Ham this summer failed, after he rejected the move due to family reasons.